The Thanksgiving Edition

I can’t help by starting off with an explanation of this edition of SEATTLE OUTSIDER MUSINGS’ new photo banner…

L to R: Yours truly visiting the San Francisco Bridge on the occasion of Wordsmith Maggie’s October 4th birthday, the date she shares with her SF hostess & shutterbug gal pal, Edie Harris; An Alaskan totem pole, which Wordsmith Maggie will be visiting during her upcoming FREE 7-night Holland America Line totem cruise, compliments of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society (Lots more on that later). Yours truly, freezing her you-know-what off while posing for cameraman, Mike Martin, atop Oregon’s Crater Lake on Halloween. (It was Martin’s brilliant idea to make the 7,178 ft. trek above sea level in his Toyota Celica sans snow tires in the off-season!)

Days in advance of sitting down to the family’s Thanksgiving turkey feast and I’m already anticipating the inevitable sleep-inducing effects of tryptophan. I’ll be bringing a spiraled baked ham along for the occasion, in a most-likely futile effort to help lessen the probability of nodding-off right after dessert. (I also have spoken designs on the ham bone afterward for soup-making purposes–split pea to be precise…)
As far as fixins’ go, I’m also planning to make what’s described as a “fun twist” on a Thanksgiving favorite, Candied Sweet Potatoes, by the good people at Instead of marshmallows, this sweet potatoes recipe gets a sweet and crunchy topping a la Rice Krispies. Don’t cringe, all you foodies out there. While it may sound a little retro, it’s actually quite delicious and makes a terrific side dish for carnivores & vegetarians alike. And, yes, your mother would probably like it, along with everyone else at the dinner table! Suggestion: Keep ’em guessing what the topping’s made of until the meal’s over…
Here goes:

Serving Size: 12 Total Time: 1 hour, 30 min.
5 lb. med. sweet potatoes
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/8 tsp. cayenne, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for serving
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Prick each potato all over with a fork and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes until tender, about one hour; turn the potatoes over halfway through baking.  Let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet and two large spoons with nonstick cooking spray.  Lightly coat a large heatproof bowl with nonstick cooking spray and put the Rice Krispies in it.  In a small bowl, mix the baking soda with the 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/8 tsp. of cayenne.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/2 Tbsp. of the butter and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Boil over moderately high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until a golden caramel forms, about seven minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda mixture; the caramel will foam.  Immediately drizzle all of the hot caramel over the cereal and, using the two greased spoons, quickly toss to coat.  Spread the topping on the prepared baking sheet in a even layer and let cool completely, then break into pieces.
3. Scoop the sweet potato flesh into a food processor.  Add the remaining 6 Tbsp. of butter and the cream, orange zest and a pinch of cayenne and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving bowl and dollop with additional butter.  The crispy topping may be either be added to the top of the sweet potatoes, or passed separately at the table.
Bon appetit and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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